Most Christians would say that they would like to know the Bible, but what does that mean?
Some time back when I was actively teaching in college and seminary, I used to ask the students “What do you know if you ‘know’ the Bible?” The students would volunteer subject after subject.
The subjects they volunteered always fell into three categories:
- The story of the Bible: the facts, the people, places, events.
- The teachings of the Bible: God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, spiritual growth, Bible prophecy, etc.
- The principles of Christian living: prayer, discerning God’s will, Bible study, walking in the Spirit, etc.
A person can know a great deal about one of those categories, and know virtually nothing about the others.
This is important to understand if a Christian wants to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the Bible. We must cultivate a balanced knowledge of all three categories.
The Story of the Bible
The story of the Bible includes the basic facts…the people, places and events of the Bible. Unless one knows the story, it will be very difficult to find one’s way around the Bible.
As a new, young-adult Christian, one of the most helpful things I did to familiarize myself with the stories of the Bible was to read a children’s Bible storybook. Self-conscious, I didn’t broadcast the fact, but I did it nevertheless. And, it helped me gain the framework for future learning.
The Teachings of the Bible
The teachings of the Bible can be overwhelming. It is such a big book. The Old Testament is told primarily as a story, with supplemental poetry and prophecy. The New Testament is the story of Christ, the birth of the church, and letters to churches addressing problems.
It is not constructed as an instruction manual. Therefore, it can be a challenge to sort out what it is telling us about comprehensive spiritual truth.
Yet, all the teachings of the Bible can be placed into one of 10 categories…the Bible teaches about:
- Itself (the Bible)
- The Holy Spirit
- The Church
- Future Things
Everything the Bible teaches can be placed in one of these categories. To know that enables one to “divide and conquer” the truth, learning the basics in each of those 10 areas.
The Principles of Christian Living
This is a large and very complex category, and whole libraries could be filled with the books that have been written on subjects under principles of Christian living: how to live the Christian life, how to pray, how to discern God’s will, so forth.
While there are many excellent resources to help in this area, the most effective thing one can do is find a Christian mentor who can act as a model and a guide. This person can guide you to excellent resources, answer questions, and model behavior that is often more easily caught than taught.
This might be a friend, family member, neighbor, co-worker, Bible teacher, pastor, etc. Keep on the lookout, go where such people can be found (church, Sunday School, Bible studies, etc.) and ask the Lord to lead you to such a person. He will!
To know that there are three categories of information one must be familiar with to “know” the Bible enables a believer to target his learning and keep it balanced to become a mature Christian.
If you’ve ever confused the ark of the covenant with the ark of Noah, or Jericho with Jeroboam, Max Anders’ classic book, 30 Days to Understanding the Bible, is for you. In just fifteen minutes a day, you’ll learn the Bible’s key people, events, and doctrines to get more out of God’s Word.
About the Author:
Dr. Max Anders is the author of over 25 books included 30 Days to Understanding the Bible. He has taught on the college and seminary level and is a veteran pastor. Max was also one of the original team members with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries. He provides resources and discipleship strategies at MaxAnders.com to help people grow spiritually.